A FROST IN THE NIGHT by Edith Baer

A FROST IN THE NIGHT

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

What better place to be a child than in Thalstadt,"" remarks Eva's father one afternoon; ""and she, shrugging off the note of unease that edged his complacent words, would not have exchanged Thalstadt for any place in the world."" For Eva, growing up in the early Thirties in an extended, bourgeois Jewish family, there are happy visits to cousins upstairs and others in the country, and public tributes when grandfather, a successful merchant, turns 80. But there is also a growing undercurrent of apprehension as adults whisper about ""the times,"" ugly remarks invade Eva's innocence, and a young American cousin urges the family to take the Nazi threat seriously. On the last page it is announced that Hitler has become Chancellor of Germany--and marchers on the street sing of ""when Jewish blood spurts from our knives."" Most such memories only begin with these still comfortable pre-Hitler years--when, in Baer's words, ""The year was round, like an apple, endlessly circular and reassuring in its unvarying familiarity."" It consisted of an ""outer"" year shared with neighbors and schoolmates and another special year ""underneath"" with ""its own"" holidays and customs and symbols. Baer will describe the Hitler years in a sequel; her parents' death dates on the dedication confirm one's fears. Here she is in no hurry; the absence of action is part of what is cherished here, and readers willing to go with that will find this a loving, textured memorial to a way of life that seemed timeless.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Pantheon